Fitness fanatics will be ‘preying’ to get inside the Antelope suit. The new wearable apparel is outfitted with muscle-targeting electrodes that its creators claim will rev up your exercise routine. Wearable Life Science, the German firm behind the suit, says a 20-minute workout with the Antelope could be the equivalent of a 3-hour session in normal clothes. "It is also ideal for rehabilitation purposes after injuries," Pascal Mill, spokesperson at Wearable Life Science, explains to Metro.
What inspired you to create this suit?
WLS’s co-founder Patrick Thumm developed an ‘electric muscle stimulation’-based recovery program for a friend and professional basketballer, who was recovering from a severe injury. Within weeks, the first signs of improvement were visible, as nerves started to respond to electrical impulses. Two months into the therapy he was able to move his leg completely by himself. At last, two years after the injury the athlete completed his preparation cycle and started to play basketball again.
What’s the idea behind the Antelope?
Wearable electronics and smart clothes are hugely popular in the fitness industry. But instead of tracking an athlete’s performance, the electrodes embedded in the suit activate the body of the athlete. By integrating textile electrodes directly into the garment, the Antelope brings ‘electric muscle stimulation’ out of the stationary situation into nature. An app allows the athlete to combine EMS with every sport, whether outdoors or at a playing field or at home.
How does Antelope technically work?
Special conductive cables are integrated on the outfit’s inner side. Electrodes are made of special yarn with woven-in silver. The Antelope Booster unit is controlled by app via Bluetooth. The development of the app consists of three steps. On the first step you can control the muscle stimulation. You can choose different frequencies and training programs. The athletes only have to choose their discipline and start the matching stimulation program. In the next step users have the option to follow their training history on the dashboard. They also can get a personal workout from a virtual trainer as well as an activity reminder. The third step includes the development of a community. Personal trainer as well as athletes can get in contact to share up-to-date information, the newest workouts or diets or they can start a competition or challenge between the different groups or clubs.
How does a 20-minute workout in Antelope have the same effect as three hours without it?
It is based on EMS. The principle is very simple, as it precisely mimics the processes that occur when our brain directs muscles to contract. When we want to contract a muscle, our brain sends a signal in the form of an electric current that travels at high speed along the nerve fibres up to the muscle, which reacts by contracting. In the case of EMS, stimulus occurs directly on the muscle using electrical pulses; it fires all the motor neurons in the treated area simultaneously, creating an uncoordinated contraction. In fact, muscles cannot tell the difference between a voluntary contraction (triggered by the brain) and an electrically-induced contraction: the work done is exactly the same. So, you can train all muscle groups at the same time.
What other benefits does Antelope have?
It is also ideal for regeneration after competitions or for rehabilitation purposes after injuries. Regeneration cycles can be reduced by up to 50%.